Legal & Regulatory
New rules to reduce labor compliance burden for companies
On February 21, India’s labor ministry notified the Ease of Compliance to Maintain Registers under various Specified Labour Laws Rules 2017 (Ease of Compliance Rules). The new rules cuts down on the number of registers to be maintained under various labor laws. This will significantly reduce compliance burdens in the day-to-day operations of business establishments.
Government launches app for taxpayers as GST becomes effective July 1
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) launched a new app last week to facilitate the transition of taxpayers onto the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. The government will roll out the GST from July 1.
CBEC GST – the new Android mobile application platform – will contain all the requisite information related to migration to the GST regime, toll free numbers for queries, as well as material explaining the draft GST laws and rules.
Ola, Uber face new challenge with driver strikes
Following initial protests in Hyderabad and Bengaluru last year, widespread strikes by drivers associated with cab aggregators are taking place this month across India. While Ola and Uber drivers partially called off their indefinite strike in the National Capital Region after meeting with Delhi transport minister Satyendar Jain on Sunday, not all drivers’ unions are convinced. Further, a planned joint strike is scheduled for February 15 across the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Ola and Uber drivers will participate in the upcoming strike according to their union representatives.
By Pritesh Samuel
In another sign that the government is keen to allow to foreign law firms and accountants in India, the government on January 3 amended the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules which may make legal and accountancy services from foreign companies possible in SEZs.
The amendment was published in the Official Gazette, which says, “In the Special Economic Zones Rules, 2006, in Rule 76, for the words “professional services (excluding legal services and accounting) rental/leasing services without operators”, the words “professional services, rental/leasing services without operators” shall be removed. In other words, such services may be outsourced to foreign entities in such SEZs.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
Last month, the Department of Consumer Affairs issued a notification that asked state governments to ensure the service industry understood service charges are voluntary, rather than mandatory.
The notification stated that hotels and restaurants must clearly inform customers that service charges are “discretionary and voluntary”. Further, the notification said consumers who are dissatisfied with services can request that service charges are waived.
By Dezan Shira & Associates
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) launched a mobile app called SEZ India under the government’s e-governance initiative. The app provides detailed information about the country’s special economic zones (SEZ), including information on regulations and trade policies.
In addition, the app acts as an integrated tool to facilitate speedy processing of various transactions for the SEZ developers and units.
TRAI to audit telecom networks
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will conduct a new type of audit on telecommunication networks across India during the first week of February. Although TRAI regularly audits telecommunication networks independently, TRAI recently asked telecom operators to assist with the February audit, which will test operators in five cities – Jaipur, Bhopal, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata – for call success, blocked call, and call dropped rates as well as signal strength.
By Pritesh Samuel & Koushan Das
In a move that will boost foreign investment and business in the Indian economy, the Modi government recently unveiled various incentives for private companies that want to set up in international financial service centers (IFSC) in the country. These include granting such firms exemptions from several norms in the Companies Act, 2013. IFSCs serve customers outside the domestic economy and handle cross-border financial products and services. They can be set up in special economic zones (SEZs) to avail benefits and inducements that are applied to such zones.